"I like an escalator, because an escalator can never break. It can only become stairs. You'll never see an 'Escalator Out of Order' sign, only 'Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the convenience.'" -- Mitch Hedberg
Apparently, Mitch never met MARTA
As reported on local news... much to mine and many MARTA riders chagrin Friday morning, MARTA elected to shutdown 100 of approx 140 Escalators in its train stations last Thursday night around 8pm.
They did it for safety reasons. The transit system discovered that a service contractor's employee had bypassed a safety switch on an escalator that stops the escalator from moving if it encountered resistance (like someone's shoe caught in it or such. They determined all of the escalators in their system that the particular technician had either inspected or repaired and shut them off. I have absolutely no problem with that move and salute them for it.
My question is this, however. After shutting off the power that operates the escalator, was it necessary to then block access to them preventing people from using them as stairs? In some stations, it has caused people to have to walk another 50 feet or more to an open staircase. And, they will remain closed until they have been inspected by a technician from another firm. With 100 escalators in question, one can only imagine this will take a while. As of this evening, all of the escalators in the stations I use are still closed (one of which is in fact the picture above).
When in Washington riding the Metro, they had several escalators shutdown but open to utilize as a staircase unless technicians were actually performing maintenance on the escalator in question. And, I have even been in shopping malls (I know, "gasp") where an escalator was shut off but yet open to be used as stairs.
I wish Mitch Hedburg was still alive. He was a very funny comedian, and I am sure he would have got a kick out of this one.